Sauteed Calf’s Liver

Updated February 23, 2016
This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Here is the master recipe for a simple sauté of calf’s liver, which cooks hardly more than a minute on each side. Overcooked liver is gray, dry, and disappointing—perfectly sautéed, it is a rosy pink when you cut into it.

4 servings

Cooking Methodsauteeing



Total Timeunder 15 minutes

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

Recipe Coursemain course

Five Ingredients or LessYes


Taste and Texturemeaty, savory


  • 4 slices or about 1 pound top-quality calf's liver sliced ½ inch thick
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ½ cup or so flour in a plate
  • 3 tablespoons clarified butter, or butter and light olive oil or peanut oil
  • A heavy 10-inch frying pan, no-stick recommended


  1. Sautéing:

  2. The moment before sautéing, season the liver on both sides with a sprinkling of salt and pepper, and dredge in the flour, shaking off excess. Set the frying pan over high heat and film with 1/16 inch of clarified butter or butter and oil. When very hot, lay in the liver and sauté 1 minute on each side.

  3. When is it done?:

  4. It should be barely springy when pressed with your finger, and a deep pinky red when you cut into a piece. Serve as is, or try one of the suggestions that follow.


  6. Calf's Liver and Bacon:

  7. Cook 2 slices of bacon per person and keep warm on a plate lined with paper towels. Pout the bacon fat into a small bowl, wipe the pan clean, and spoon in clear bacon fat. Use that rather than butter for sauteeing, to give the liver a special flavor. Serve the bacon with the liver.

  8. Sauteed Calf's Liver with Wine and Mustard Sauce:

  9. For 4 Servings

  10. 1 tablespoon Dijon-typ prepared mustard

  11. 1/4 cup beef or chicken stock

  12. 1/4 cup dry white French Vermouth

  13. Ingredients for Sauteed Calf's Liver:

  14. 1 tablespoon butter

  15. 1 tablespoon minced shallot or scallion

  16. 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

  17. Whisk the mustard, stock, and vermouth in a small bowl.

  18. Saute the liver and remove to hot plates or a hot platter.

  19. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel, add the tablespoon of butter, and saute the shallot or scalion in the pan for a moment; blend in the mustard mixture and simmer a moment or two, until the sauce has thickened lightly.

  20. Swirl in the parsely, spoon the sauce over the liver, and serve.



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